Review: No Rest for the Wicked

Review: No Rest for the WickedNo Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, #3) by Kresley Cole
Series: Immortals After Dark #3
Published by Pocket Star on October 31, 2006
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 356

Paranormal Romance with an Adventure and an Adorable Hero

“He beseeched with those eyes, and she realized he hungered for an end. He wanted the death blow she’d come to his decrepit castle to deliver.”

FINAL DECISION: Amusing and adventurous, this book is the story of two people who have been alone for a long time. I especially loved how Sebastian is a tough, strong alpha hero but also sweet and a bit innocent around women.

THE STORY: Sebastian Wroth is a reluctant vampire. Turned against his will by his older brothers, Sebastian has spent three centuries fighting against his new nature. One day, Kaderin, the Cold Hearted, a Valkyrie, comes to his castle to kill him. Kaderin has spared the life of a vampire before. That act of mercy cost the lives of her two sisters. Devastated by their deaths, she asked for numbness from her grief and that was granted…but Kaderin now feels nothing — not sadness, not joy, not passion. She has now spent a thousand years killing vampires when she comes to Sebastian’s castle. Failing to kill Sebastian, Kaderin enters the legendary month long contest that is similar to the Amazing Race. Sebastian follows her in the competition intending to win the woman who is his Bride.

OPINION: I love how these two characters bring life to one another. Their story is at times painful because opening up one another emotionally means that they can hurt one another. Sebastian is such a sweet hero. He is a reluctant vampire and through this book comes to accept his own existence. He is almost immediately devoted to Kaderin and spends the remainder of the book chasing her. The adventure really works well with this couple. It brings a lightness and adventure to the story.

The book overlaps the stories of other books and I find it interesting that each book hints at the mysteries of the other books and the motivations of the characters. It makes me interested in continuing to read the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: I love the integration of the modern pop culture world with the paranormal world in this series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NO REST OR THE WICKED is the third book in the Immortals After Dark series. It can be read as a standalone but is much better after reading the first two books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.


Review: Stealing the Duke

Review: Stealing the DukeStealing the Duke (The Scandal Sheet Book 2) by Jess Michaels
Series: The Scandal Sheet #2
Published by Passionate Pen on 5th March 2019
Genres: Historical


FINAL DECISION: A beauty and the beast inspired book, I loved Marianne and Alexander’s interactions. A quick start to their relationship because of the length of the novel has to be overlooked, but I enjoyed watching their relationship develop.

THE STORY: Lady Marianne’s world is destroyed when her father dies and it is revealed that her father, the earl, was stealing items. Now Marianne has discovered one more stolen item but when she seeks to return it in secret she is discovered by Alexander Wittingham, Duke of Avondale. Alexander makes Marianne a scandalous offer.

OPINION: I enjoyed the really hot, hot story of Alexander and Marianne. The beauty and the beast vibe was good and the story had a nice twist on the story.

Marianne is a young woman who takes her life into her own hands to overcome what her father has left her. I really appreciated that she is definitely not a victim in this book. Instead, she agrees to the sexual relationship with Alexander as a way of gaining control of her life.

Alexander is a man scarred both on the outside and on the inside. Because of his past, Alexander has walled himself off from others. He attempts to compartmentalize and control his attraction to Marianne (the attempt which, of course, is a total failure).

While this story lacks the length and depth of a full length novel, I appreciated that the focus is kept primarily on the couple rather than all the potential drama around them.

This was a quick read and enjoyable.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a novella not a full length book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: STEALING THE DUKE is the second book in the Scandal Sheet series. This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.



Review: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

Review: No Good Duke Goes UnpunishedNo Good Duke Goes Unpunished (The Rules of Scoundrels, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #3
Published by Avon on November 26, 2013
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED is the third book in Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series. It is the story of Temple, known as the Killer Duke, one of the four partners in the Fallen Angels gaming hell. As with all of The Rules of Scoundrels series, the story begins with Temple’s “fall” from grace. Temple’s fall occurred twelve years ago when he awoke in the bed of his future stepmother covered in blood. Temple does not know what happened. While no body is found, but Mara Lowe has disappeared so Temple is believed guilty – even by Temple.

Mara Lowe is not dead. She was 16 when she was to marry Temple’s father (she was to be Temple’s fourth stepmother). Twelve years later, she returns because her younger brother, Christopher Lowe, has gotten into debt at the partners gaming hell and she wishes to save him and recover her money that Christopher has lost.

The first scene between Mara and Temple is really great. It isn’t a spoiler to state that Temple is a bit annoyed to discover that Mara is alive. The scenes throughout the book between the two are fantastic. Mara is a fighter and certainly a match for the boxer extraordinaire Temple. This book is a bit more plot heavy than the other books of the series and the two characters struggle against one another more. It is more of a prize fight and the reader experiences round after round of action between Temple and Mara. Without giving too much way, the two have some incredible battles in Temple’s boxing ring at the Fallen Angel!

NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED is a dark and emotionally intense novel. Temple and Mara have a long way to go to get their HEA. Temple, a character who has accepted his fate, is now consumed with rage and a lust for vengeance. However, that desire is not natural for Temple who struggles with his desire to redeem himself and his desire for Mara.

I have enjoyed all of MacLean’s novels. She is now one of my favorite writers. I find that her books are filled with incredible, individual characters. They are memorable and no two of her books are the same. I also really enjoy The Rules of Scoundrels in particular because her books are dark and filled with tension. When the HEA finally happens, I feel that I have traveled alongside the characters and rejoice with them.

NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED is the darkest novel in the series because both characters are deeply hurt by their past. In the previous two books in the series, the heroine provided the light in the story. Here, Mara is the catalyst for the darkness in Temple’s life so their romance is much more complicated. In fact, Temple is the victim here and Mara is the one who feel unworthy. She has harmed Temple immensely in the past and continues to harm him throughout the novel. It is Temple who ultimately gives his forgiveness and acceptance to Mara.

To me this book isn’t quite as good as ONE GOOD EARL DESERVERS A LOVER (the second book of the series) but that book is one of my all time favorite novels. That being said, NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED is at least as good as A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME and in some ways I like this more because the characters are now familiar to me. I loved the interaction with all the Scoundrels and their wives. This is the first book of the series where we really get to see all the characters together and the crisis which brings all our characters into the same room was emotional and heartbreaking. These Scoundrels are not only partners but are also a family.

Finally, I give a WOW, WOW, WOW for the Epilogue. This is one book that you want to read without spoilers for the Epilogue. MacLean reveals a big secret about Chase, whose book is the next in the series. My mouth dropped when I read the reveal and I had to read it twice to believe what I was reading. I think that the Reader who does not peek at the ending will get a really great surprise and I can’t wait for Chase’s book.

NO GOOD DUKE DOES UNPUNISHED continues a fantastic series by Sarah MacLean. A reader doesn’t have to read the other books of the series before reading this one, but honestly, this book is more enjoyable if you have already encountered Temple. Start with A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME and then continue with ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER (my favorite of the series) before reading this book. Temple is important in both those novels and a reader will have a better idea of his relationship with the other Scoundrels and their wives.

I give this book a 5 plus stars! I only give this rating to books that I love the first time I read them but that are also ones that I will re-read. I’ve already read this one three times and I expect that I will read it again and again.


Review: The Best of Us

Review: The Best of UsThe Best of Us (Sullivan's Crossing, #4) by Robyn Carr
Series: Sullivan's Crossing #4
Published by MIRA on January 8, 2019
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384

FINAL DECISION: A triple romance, I loved the sense of community in this book. The stories feel so normal and what happens with each couple upends a lot of expectations of what will happen with the stories. Heartwarming romances.

THE STORY: Dr. Leigh Carver enjoys the more relaxed pace of her medical practice in Colorado after leaving her big city practice. She starts a small romance with Rob, a widower with two teenage sons. Leigh’s beloved aunt comes to visit. The two of them have always been one another’s family. But the new men in their lives bring compromises and questions regarding what each really wants.

OPINION: I really loved this book. The characters have real and complex problems and there are no magic solutions. Things have to dealt with in an adult manner and require compromise on all sides.

One of the things I really loved about this book is the three generations of romance. We have a teen romance, a thirties romance and a senior romance. Each of them defies stereotypes. Sometimes multiple storylines mean that something gets shorted, but not here. Each of these stories felt appropriate and well done.

The central story is Leigh and Rob. Each of whom is a successful adult who has lived a bit of their life. There is an attraction between the two complicated by their current life states (Rob has raised two boys alone for years and is done with children; Leigh has a demanding career).  Around them working out whether they want to be together and how the pieces of their lives will fit, there are the other two romances which expand and even complicate their own romance.

There was nothing in this story that was so exciting that it just grabbed me. Rather I slowly sank into these characters, this town, ad this story. There is a real sense of community that makes me think about abandoning everything and moving to a small town.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are some nice updates on the characters from the series so far.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE BEST OF US is the fourth book in the Sullivan’s Crossing series. The story here is self-contained and so it is not necessary to read the prior books in the series. However, there are appearances by characters from the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.


Review: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

Review: One Good Earl Deserves a LoverOne Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #2
Published by Avon on January 29, 2013
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER is the second book of Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series.

I will make a confession before I begin the review of ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER. I read this book for the first time four months ago and I’ve read it at least 6 times since then. It is already one of my favorite romance books of all time. The book makes me laugh and makes me cry. I absolutely love the characters and while I understand the complaints that some have about the plot or the motivations of the characters, I don’t agree.

To me the romance between Lady Philippa (Pippa) Marbury and Jasper Arlesey, Earl Harlow aka Cross is magnificent. I love how Cross is just baffled by Pippa. She is a unique character and he is enthralled and bemused by her. Their first meeting, Pippa arrives at Cross’ office while he is asleep and she proceeds to inspect his books and criticize his calculations is so amusing. Pippa is “odd” and Cross is simultaneously fascinated and horrified by her.

Cross is a wonderfully tortured hero. He is a man who was a second son who was happy living dissipated life; a young man who did not take anything seriously. He is tortured because his older responsible brother is killed in a carriage accident while traveling to an event that Cross at first promised and then reneged on attending. Cross then gains his brother’s title. Cross, however, believes that he should have died instead of his brother and thus refuses to take up that life because he does not feel worthy of it.

Pippa is amazing. She is clever and strong and quirky. She is a scientist and looks at the world in a curious manner. She is engaged to marry an earl (who is nice enough but no match for Pippa’s intellect) because she is settling because she believes that no one could really want her because of her odd nature.

I love this book. The dialogue is the best part. The conversations are so fascinating that I could just continue to read them again and again. Cross and Pippa are both intellectuals and they discuss things in such an unusual manner. I am both fascinated and amused by their conversations. I especially like the fact that Cross is so bemused in Pippa’s presence. He is a man who has denied his passions and yet has such incredible passion inside him.

MacLean always has such vivid characters, but I find Pippa and Cross to be incredible examples of her expertise. They are unusual people and I understand their motivations because MacLean does such a great job of bringing the reader into their minds. I know that Cross’ actions are the subject of some confusion and criticism by some readers. I feel, however, that Cross has made a life for himself of denying himself. He refuses to be happy because he feels unworthy. Eventually, he concludes that he is not worthy but that he is enough of a scoundrel to take what he wants anyway. Thus, the HEA. It doesn’t bother me when characters make swift changes in decisions because I find that realistic in that Cross is so used to denying himself happiness that he does so by habit until he is shaken from his routine.

I also really enjoy all the secondary characters. Chase and Temple have important roles in the story and I enjoy the interaction between the partners. My only small complaint is that Penelope and Bourne only have a small role here. I would have liked to have seen what their reaction to Pippa and Cross was, and I missed that payoff.

While you don’t have to read A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME first, the story certainly gains from having the background from that story – plus, any reader of ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER must read the Epilogue of A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME where Pippa and Cross meet. While their meeting is summarized in the first chapter of this book, the Epilogue is so amazing that for me I always read that before I start to read ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER.

I recommend this book highly!